Trysting Tree, Todwick, South Yorkshire

Legendary Tree (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SK 49751 83799


This was one of the many sacred trees beneath or next to which, in pre-christian days, tribal councils met.  Thanks to the local historians Paul Rowland and  Lis Tigi Maguire Coyle (see ‘Comments’, below), the whereabouts of the tree has been located (contrary to my earlier idea that it had sadly died).  The local writer Harry Garbutt wrote of it in the 1940s, saying:

“The importance of Harthill in Saxon days may be adduced also from the fact that of the Three Hundreds of the Wapentake, Harthill was one.  The Hundred was the Court of local justice and government, and at Harthill would meet under the old Trysting Tree.”

The very word trysting relates to any species of tree that has importance, be it by its appearance or position, and relates to those that were used as traditional or popular meeting sites.


  1. Garbett, Harry, The History of Harthill-with-Woodall and its Hamlet Kiveton Park, Arthur H. Stockwell: Ilfracombe n.d. (c.1948)
  2. Gomme, Laurence, Primitive Folk-Moots, Sampson Lowe: London 1880.

Acknowledgements:  Massive thanks to Paul Rowland (‘Comments’, below), for information pointing us to the exact spot where our Trysting Tree lived; and to Lis Tigi Maguire Coyle for the additional folklore ‘Comment’, below.  Huge thanks to you both!

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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4 thoughts on “Trysting Tree, Todwick, South Yorkshire”

  1. Actually, the Trysting Tree is in Todwick, not Harthill. My stepfather, John Wells, along with members of the Lord Conyers Folk Club and Morris Men planted a sapling close to the site of the original in the 1970’s. The Morris Men still perform a dance there i believe every winter solstice, and the original tree was – if my memory serves me – mentioned in the Domesday Book.
    I grew up about 3 miles away.

  2. Thanks Lis – hugely appreciated! 🙂 – Could you perhaps send us info on the whereabouts on a map, so I can correct its whereabouts? I’ll amend the info and give you due acknowledgements. …So I presume we could get a photo of the site (he sez hopefully). Thanks again – P.

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